“When it comes to taxes both Travis Childers and Barack Obama think alike — they both want to raise them,” says an ad by Freedom’s Watch, an outside group financed by wealthy Republican contributors.
The National Republican Congressional Committee, the branch of the national party that assists GOP candidates, has linked Childers and Cazayoux to Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. In Louisiana, the party’s ad says Obama and Pelosi represent “a radical agenda, very different from Louisiana’s values.”
“Is Obama right for Louisiana? Is Pelosi?” the spot asks.
NRCC Chairman Tom Cole, a GOP congressman from Oklahoma, this week said Republicans would rather run with Obama at the top of the Democratic presidential ticket than Clinton. That represents a change in attitude for Republicans, many of whom had argued earlier that Clinton would likely energize Republicans against her and thus help down ticket Republicans.
But now, some Republican strategists say, any connection between Democratic candidates, even conservative Democrats such as Cazayoux and Childers, and Obama will erode their support among blue-collar voters. And they say that since the ads began running, the Democrats’ leads have shrunk.
Obama “is by any definition very liberal, to the left of Hillary Clinton, in a center-right country,” Cole said. “That is very, very helpful to us.”
According to Federal Election Commission figures and data provided by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the NRCC has spent more than $600,000 and Freedom’s Watch is spending $120,000 in Mississippi’s 1st District. The GOP is spending nearly $440,000 and Freedom’s Watch is spending $126,000 in Louisiana’s 6th District.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has outspent their Republican counterparts in each district — nearly $1.2 million in Louisiana and more than $1.1 million in Mississippi.
Democratic Party officials and strategists, however, say the Obama links in the Mississippi and Louisiana races are having no effect.